Time To Bring Out Our Best
I finally went out to eat at a restaurant this week. Inside. At a table with people who are not part of my family. With a mask off. It felt so strange but absolutely wonderful at the same time. We are getting back to life. I found myself beaming at the waiters, so thrilled to see them back at work. I had a bounce in my step as I walked down the street, mindful to keep my distance upon approach. I even wore a little lipstick in anticipation of being able to reveal my smile to those around me. I was on my very best behavior. But I might have been alone.
I have been hearing so many stories about people behaving badly. A flight attendant lost two teeth in an altercation over the masking policy. Shop owners, grocery clerks and restaurant staff are being subjected to daily abuse by patrons who have decided that wearing a piece of fabric over their face is just a bridge too far and they won’t be subjected to such restrictions. The average tip for grocery and service deliveries have sharply decreased now that everyone is getting back out there. People have been caught on video shouting at each other, or assaulting strangers simply because they are in their vicinity. People are dropping their used face masks on the ground, littering our streets in great numbers. It really doesn’t seem like we are ready to be out in public together among each other. Maybe people have forgotten how to behave?
It is so disappointing. I, along with millions of others, have been anxiously waiting for the world to bounce back. I crave a leisurely stroll through a grocery store that includes a quick chat with the clerk about how the kids are doing. I want to graciously accept that red lollipop that used to be offered by the bank teller. I would deeply enjoy a day at the spa, or an hour volunteering at the school library, or a few minutes talking to the neighborhood crossing guard. Things big and small that occur in daily life have been missing and are finally starting to resurface but I’m frankly a little scared of what others around me might do.
We might hate to admit it but we actually do need each other. We have always needed each other but now, more than ever, we need to be able to depend on one another to stay safe and sane as we transition back. A little kindness will go a long way. But it is not just kindness. We need endless supplies of kindness, encouragement, forgiveness, latitude, friendship, fellowship and general goodwill. The more we share it and display it, the more there will be to share and spread. Good deeds and good behavior spreads, just like the virus. We do our part to be the carriers of joy, kindness, basic manners and good behavior overall and others will not only appreciate it, they will follow our lead. We set the standard for remembering to bring out our best when we are rejoining life in the outside world.
So smile (even with a mask on people will see it in your eyes). Tip generously. Keep your used mask in your pocket. Say please and thank you. Give people a hand. Lay off the car horn. Give people the space they might want to walk about. Remind yourself that someone you encounter might have lost a job, or a loved one, or been deathly ill, or been isolated. Remind yourself that good luck separates that life from your own. And bring out your best behavior. Hopefully it will bring out the best in others.